Recycled Ideas

I don’t care about the “Hole in the Wall” which is a euphemism for a “dive bar”. We’ve  been there before. The dive bar in my mind is overpopulated with off-beat, creative, artsy,  and colorful patrons who prefer  The Black Keys, Phoenix, or Simply Red versus what’s playing on your “Hot Hits” radio station.  These are the same bunch that have Disney songs on the karaoke list, and aren’t amazed by Migos or Drake because they know these artists are derivatives of the same narratives repeated over and over again.

These people at the dive bar don’t follow a dress code, aren’t interested in pleasing a crowd, and simply come out to chill within their own disjointed splendor.  “Hole in the Wall” is  a Soul Southern-leaning version of the dive bar I just illustrated.

The chorus goes: “I had my best time y’all, at the “hole in the wall”. “Whiskey and Chicken Wings…and no one wants to leave. ”

And I end up responding in my head during this story…

What the hell are you doing at a dive bar from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. Why are you not at home sleeping in your bed? But ideas like this seem to be recycled over and over in what I see as “black music”.

Either the listener has to relive how some woman gets cheated on by some two-timing man. Or if we’re hearing the rap of today, I’m agreeing with Marlon Wayans when I hear him ask why aren’t 30 and 40 year old men don’t rap about things that reveal some  maturity.

I also don’t need to hear how “she” cheated on you and how you’re angry about it. Stop detailing your revenge: changing locks, hiding keys, keying cars,  getting groupies, popping bottles, or changing numbers. I’m bored with that. I also get tired of hearing you re-assert just how much of a “bad” person you are. You can book this room and drive a Ferrari, and yet you’re still upset about your life. Your tone of voice hasn’t changed. No one is supposed to know that you’re pretending to be a jerk just to get that money.

I want to know how you managed to get into such a terrible relationship.Why is some woman demanding child support from you? Why do you go home with a different person every night?

Tell me about the bar you met your lover in. Tell me about the city you live in. Tell me about the sky. Tell me about the drives to your lover’s house. Give me some atmosphere. Explain what about him made you fall so hard. What about her makes her hard to get rid of? And don’t use a cliche’ like: Her kiss is like butter…

What about Rihanna’s 2015 album “Anti”?   The most interesting track might be “James Joint”, a one minute groove about how she is smoking weed and breaking things. While that’s a odd poetic position, it is idea that could have been a really good song but the track never goes past two minutes.

How many cars, chains, men, women, and positions have to be gotten before black people start expressing ideas that truly match what we really deal with? Could there be actual songs that aren’t always militant insults about problems. Could we rap about  ways to motivate us through our problems.

I want to ask Rihanna did he really need you?   Did she need HIM and she’s got too much pride to admit the truth. Why can’t black music be just a tad more complicated, and why can’t the complicated songs be more popular. Oh, I know. I think it’s because thinking would too hard for some of us because as long as we complain about something we can sell records.

It’s gotten to where even the songs about something, sound like nothing at all. Have you heard of how simple “God’s Plan” sounds? I would think that any song with such a name would be less boring.

We really need to dive into why…. we are not expecting more. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it has a single shred of purpose. Someone told me that just because that just because someone is black I should root for his or her success. Well, that’s a complicated direction. Every person’s version of success isn’t the same. And some of us are stuck in safety we’re unable to see our own flaws.

I hope we stop recycling the ideas that makes mentally, emotional, and physically ill.





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